Linkblogging For 27/09/10

Please bear with the utter lack of new material here. I’m currently trying to finish re-typesetting PEP! (corrections authors have sent in), finish up my book, co-author a scientific paper, work on a new project I’ll be linking to shortly, get my ideas for the new Convergence collaborative novel worked out… oh, and work on two projects at work both of which simultaneously hit their busiest week this week, and try to do some political activism too. And see my wife.

All this will come to a head very shortly, and then my time will be free again – please don’t give up on this blog for its dearth of updates. In the meantime, have some links:

I’ve been so tired I left possibly the stupidest comment ever on Andrew Rilstone’s blog today. Nonetheless, his huge series on Joseph Campbell is well worth reading.

This is a news website article about a scientific finding

Charlie Brooker on sports

ESQ talk about the music played before Brian Wilson’s gigs. A reminder that I made a Spotify playlist of as much of this as I could.

And Liz W gives her take on equal marriage, from a Christian point of view.

Linkblogging For 23/09/10

For those who are wondering where I am, I’m busy trying to get PEP! 2 down to a small enough filesize to upload to Magcloud, and working on the Beatles book. I’m also progressing more slowly than usual with both those as I’m exhausted from work. I’ll be back soon. Meanwhile, links:

Jennie Rigg wants people to help with her campaign for Lib Dem President. If you’re a Lib Dem and aren’t already helping her, why not?

Sarah Brown (not that one) has the text of a speech she wanted to give at Lib Dem Conference about trans people and same-gender marriage.

Some research on “Women and self-labelling in online geek communities”

Charlotte Gore has realised that Richard Dawkins is counterproductive when talking about atheism.

And MP3s of the old cassette versions of the Patrick Troughton Doctor Who stories Power Of The Daleks and Fury Of The Deep, narrated by Tom Baker and Colin Baker (different narration from the currently available CD versions)

PEP! 2 Is Finally Here!

I’ve finally completed typesetting Pep! 2. Unfortunately, Magcloud doesn’t think the fonts have embedded, so I’ll have to regenerate the PDF tonight before the paper copy can go on sale. Also, this file is much, much bigger than it should be (50M rather than ~10M). But it’s there if you want it.

Paper copies on sale tonight.

ETA If you wrote something for this and notice a horrible mistake, there’s still time to change it before tonight. But *DON’T* let me know about bold/italic problems – those will be down to non-embedded fonts, and fixed in the final version.

Twenty-Five Sentences From PEP! 2

Studies show that journalists are very poor at understanding science.

When they might just as easily be “default” male, or indeed being aliens (even on a kids’ show) have no gender at all, they are neither very patriarchical nor matriarchal, and don’t seem hung up on gender at all.

While Sim would probably dislike the comparison, considering Blake to be inspired by YooHWHoo, William Blake is undoubtedly the closest comparison to Sim, as an artist whose work can’t be separated from his illness.

I’ve argued before that Smile and Smiley Smile were both attempts by Wilson to create a version of a platonic ideal album in his head, the former aided by Van Dyke Parks and the latter by the Beach Boys

It is a truth universally acknowledged that women are terrible at maths, driving and map­reading.

Jennie Rigg’s other argument against the Wolf story, which I decided to save for later, was that ‘There is research shown that both men and women will play up to stereotype when under scrutiny’.

In short, whatever the paranoid fantasies, you can’t download communism, you can only create it – the idea’s a non­starter.

But Chesterton reveals much more by getting it wrong in his Napoleon, than he does by getting it right: as he imagines a London of the 1980s that still runs on hansom cabs and gaslight, all because (as he tells us) people seem to delight in exploding the earnest predictions of forward­looking authors and thinkers…much preferring to go their own free
way, impenetrably.

This is, however, not to reckon with the intense, almost psychopathic, self­-absorption and power­-worship of the average comic­book fan.

The Galileo Myth provides the easy conclusion that the “why” of it all was superstition, irrationality, sheer base dogmatic stubbornness…but do we really have any reason to believe this, except that it flatters our modern sensibilities?

Time to stop chasing the same old stories; time to write some new ones, without ignoring what’s come before.

Meanwhile, in Limbo, comedian Richard Herring is dreaming a familiar dream.

Sometimes it’s important to settle on the most obvious examples of exploitation in order to make the point, and with so few words to play with, it would seem unnecessarily obscure to not touch upon the fate of Brian Wilson.

In ’66. Dylan had his motorbike crash, no motorbike crash, and disappeared from view.

The Walrus, The God Of Hellfire, Louie The King, Papa With His Brand New Bag.

And it isn’t Dick’s Christian fugitives and freedom fighters that we see manifesting themselves before us when we focus on that great lost dream.

You might see a “living fossil”: the enigmatic Moby Grape

Eppur si muove: which in plain English means the damn thing’s either moving or it isn’t, no matter what anyone chooses to say about it.

Reassuring as it may be to read aloud to ourselves from A Child’s Garden Of Science about the Jacob’s Ladder of ever­increasing knowledge, Kuhn deserves better than this, and so do the thinkers in the human past we often treat roughly in order to glorify ourselves as the inheritors of “progress”.

Jack Kirby, the man who was to comics as Hitchcock was to film or Louis Armstrong to jazz, a man who was literally incapable of not creating, a man whose unused concepts are still being mined by comic companies nearly twenty years after his death, one of the twentieth century’s most important artists by any criteria that matter… this man whose every pencil line was unique and original and identifiable as his work,this man who remade an art form in his own image… he apparently was working under close instruction from a bunch of businessmen who wouldn’t know one end of a pencil from another.

You know I can stow that stuff in my jacket now, without even having to call it shoplifting.

(Try to picture Alan Moore resuming his desk at the Gas Board.)

Gender ideology is a lie that makes itself true.

(And yet I’m still friends with Andrew. Go figure)

I’m fighting my own little time war in my brain, trying to work out how much I can change the past without damaging narrative integrity, and I don’t think I’m the only one.

PEP! 2 Is Getting Closer

What do you want to see in a magazine?
Do you want to see celebrities looking slightly fatter than they did in a different photo? Or people showing you round their lovely new house?

Or do you want articles defending Thomas Kuhn from unfair generalisations made by the magazine’s editor? Parodies of Samuel Beckett and Tom Stoppard in the form of Doctor Who fanfic? Three articles in a row on copyright law? Comics about dinosaurs? Comics bloggers discussing sixties music? Gender politics? Reasons why dinosaurs are ‘fucking metal’? Articles on two very different comics about titular barbarians?

Oh, you want the celebrity thing. All right.

But if you think the other one sounds good, keep watching this space…

I don’t normally link to LDV

Because they have advertising from MessageSpace, which I disapprove of. But I couldn’t very well not reciprocate this:

For An Open Letter To The Labour Party.

Without wanting to seem ungrateful, especially since many of the judges are people I admire, they’re clearly mad. The four other shortlisted posts, by Alex, Millennium, Caron and Liz , were all better than mine. I’m glad to see Millennium finally won the overall Blog Of The Year award though, and the Curse had better not strike (and next year Alex should win).

Seriously, to be nominated at all was astonishing, to be considered among such company as those four posts was overwhelming, and to actually win makes me feel like something’s gone very wrong.

You like me! You really like me! *sniff*

With luck, PEP! 2 will be out tomorrow, and the Beatles book towards the fag end of next week. I’ll probably get back to posting here, at least lightly, over the next week, and normal service will be resumed as soon as I have the Beatles book uploaded.

Linkblogging For 16/09/10

PEP! is going to be this weekend coming, not the last one, as I’ve spent most of the last week laid up with the ‘flu. I’ll be getting the book out some time in the week or so after that, and then I’ll be back to posting here again. In the meantime, some links:

For those of you with eMusic, two things worth checking out are Kristian Hoffman’s new album Fop, which on initlal listens may be as good as his 2002 masterpiece &, and Alan Moore’s new one Unearthing.

A blog posted a list of the songs Brian Wilson has used as the audience come in to his gigs, and I’ve created a playlist of all the ones that are on Spotify. It’s a pretty good representation of Beach Boys As Genre music, including Guess I’m Dumb, Pancreas and Pale And Precious, among others.

And finally… my friend Jennie Rigg wants to stand as President of the Liberal Democrats, but the post is essentially a full time one, but only pays five thousand pounds a year. Therefore I’m trying to persuade as many people as possible to pledge that in the event that she wins, they’ll give her ten pounds a month to allow her to do it. You can sign up here. This isn’t about supporting the Lib Dems – though of course I do – and nor is it about necessarily voting for Jennie as President, though I think of the declared candidates she would be far and away the best. Rather it’s about ensuring that people aren’t barred by poverty from taking on important roles in politics. The Presidency of the party should be decided on the basis of who the best person for the job is, not on whether they can afford to give up a minimum two years of their life without pay…